Class #3120

Mat for Spine Health

20 min - Class


You will improve your spine health with this Mat workout by Trent McEntire. He uses different props to help you mobilize and strengthen your spine. He focuses on creating ease of movement during each exercise so you can have a supple spine.
What You'll Need: Mat, Triadball, Bolster, Towel

About This Video

Jul 12, 2017
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I'm Trent Macentire, welcome to class. We're gonna use three props today. We have the pillow here, and it can be any size pillow, but we have a good size pillow for you, a small ball, and then we have two towels, could be wash cloths, but we have two small hand towels. Let's start lying on your side facing me, and you're heads gonna be on the pillow. You're gonna come on down, and you're gonna have your knees bent with your feet right underneath your pelvis.

It's like there's a straight line from feet, hips, to your head on your side, and your hands are gonna be stacked here. So just start with sliding your top hand further along the floor than your bottom hand, and just return to stack them on top of each other. Just get a feel for this tracking as we're gonna build on this, just to give you a sense. Start to make that bigger and bigger, so that when you're going forward, the hand slides to touch the floor. When you come back, the hand actually slides and touches the wrist, and your head will start to roll up toward the sky.

Good. Let's now take a breath in as you go forward, and then take a breath out as you come back. Let the head just roll so you're not really trying to hold your head at all. You're just letting it roll around, get a feel. Now let's add on.

Let's slide it forward here so the hand's on the floor. Then the hand's gonna come up to the sky, and you're gonna track that hand with your eyes, so it goes behind you. Then bend at the elbow, come across the front of your body, trace along the arm, and find that wood floor again. Go up to the sky, and then you're gonna open up. Keep your eyes on the hand.

The arm isn't gonna go so far back that you can't see it. Slide it forward. It's okay if we're not all together. I'd actually rather have you find your own tempo than try to match your partner. So slide that forward, up to the sky, and you're gonna open.

Good, keep going. Nice inhale when you're going forward, nice exhale as you're opening out to the side. Good. Find contact with that hand so as you come across, you really feel that contact. Then to the floor, and then open.

It's like your arm is seaweed under the ocean, so really light. As it comes up to the sky, reach up, create some lightness on the ribs so you're not cramming down into the floor with that. Now we're gonna speed it up. So, inhale. (breathes deeply) Inhale, come across.

Exhale, up and open. Inhale, come across. Keep that hand in eye sight so you're not allowing that to drop behind your eyesight. We don't want to jam the neck and have to force to look at it. You wanna be able to see it real clearly.

This one's gonna stay open when you get there. Nice wide breath here. Exhale, go up and reverse it to the sky, and then stack, go beyond to the wood floor, and return across the body, unfold. Up and over, big arc, good. And then unfold, good.

Up and over, and you might feel a moment of not quite being able to breathe because your face is on the mat, and that's cool, you're looking for that. It's kinda funny, but it allows for a little bit of spinal rotation that you really can use, so don't hold that head. Let it roll side to side. You're not straining anything. You're just giving it some freedom.

Up and over, nice job. Good, one more time. Up and over, and then stack your hands so both hands are equal. Brilliant. Okay, you're gonna stay facing me.

Bring your pillow, so you go to the other side of your mat, and we'll do the other side. Good, just start the same way, top hand slides. Just find that wood floor, and then just stack it again. Double check that your feet are underneath your pelvis are underneath your shoulders, so you have a nice long line there. Good.

Slide to the floor, and then come back to stack. Start to make that a little bigger so you go from the floor and then you go to the wrist. The body starts to get that nice, smooth rotation. Good, and the head's just rolling gently, and here we go. Sliding forward, find the floor, come up to the sky, and open up.

Make sure the hand's in your eyesight the whole time. Come across the body, slide along the hand, up to the sky, and then an open. Good. We're gonna go inhale to slide. Exhale to open.

Beautiful. Yeah, let your pelvis tip with it a little bit, too. Don't feel like you have to hold that pelvis still. Let that whole spine fold right open. You can go way open.

If it touches the floor, that's fine, doesn't have to, but you can explore that. Remember that seaweed underwater. It's not a stick under water, let it be seaweed. Let it flow, let it open up. If you find that my breath cue is not quite your tempo, find your own.

Just don't hold your breath and turn blue, and we're good. If you start matching your mat, we have a problem. Good. Hold this next one open, nice and wide. Inhale there, and then reverse.

Come up to the sky, reach the hand past, find the floor, then unfolding. Good. Up to the sky, past the hand, to the floor, and then unfolding. Good. Up and over.

Good, remember, that head's gonna rotate, so your face goes right toward the pillow. Not so deep that you can't breathe at all, but there's a moment where you feel like your nose is a little bit smooshed into the mat, into the pillow there. Good, up and over, a little faster, couple more. Up and over, your whole spine moves. The whole spine unfolds.

Last one, here. Nice, and rest right there, hands stacked. Beautiful. Good, come on up. We're gonna move your pillow off to the side and grab your small ball.

The ball's gonna go between the knees. You wanna have the knees so there's some pressure on the ball, that it's not just a spacer that you're touching, but actually you're pressing in on it so that as you come up onto your knees, you have some inner-thigh feedback and some abdominal cueing and help there. Check yourself out so that your knees are underneath your hips and your hands are underneath your shoulders. Also listen to your body, so if you feel like you like your hands a little further out or a little further to the side or wide, that's fine. One size does not fit all, here.

What we're gonna do from here is let the ribcage get real easy, and it just drops down between the shoulder blades. Then you're gonna lift the ribs up like an elevator this way. Take a nice breath in as you go down. As you come up, you're gonna exhale. Keep in mind this isn't cat stretch, so we're not trying to flex the spine yet.

We're trying to keep your spine really long. Keep that ball pressure, don't forget that little ball. There you go, nice. Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up, keep going. Good.

Slide it down, and lift it up, good. Keep in mind that we wanna keep your head up on the same line as the rest of your spine, and really let that fall through there so the whole ribcage is gonna drop between the shoulder blades. Yes, it's like your shoulder blades are sliding glass doors. They're gonna slide together, almost seal, and then come apart because you're lifting up. Good.

One more like that, then hold it once you get there. Now from here, you're gonna keep that lift. On the exhale, you're gonna slide one arm out in front of you to about head level. If that's too uncomfortable in the shoulder, keep your arm a little lower, mind that about yourself. Place it back down.

As you take that leg of the stool out, don't let it collapse down. Keep yourself lifted, and then you place it down. Good, keep going, alternate sides. Be mindful of that ribcage lift so that as we do more reps, you don't lose and drop down, you keep that lift. The ribcage has a little helium, a little extra lift.

Are you squeezing the ball? Now you are, I saw that. Good. And down, good. One more time.

Now, you're gonna add the leg. So as your arm goes out, oh, I'm sorry, Set your ball to the side, my apologies. Hold the ball and lift your leg, ready? Opposite arm and leg, now. You're gonna slide the arm and leg in opposition.

You find that long lift. If having the leg up is too much, just keep it down on the mat. You can use that as kind of like a extra stability point. Then lower it back down. Keep that lift, don't drop down here.

Keep that nice long lift as you lift the leg and arm, and then place it back down. Good, try it again. As the arm comes up, let the palm rotate in toward the midline of your body. Yes, good. Keep the focus on your spine.

Keep the focus on the lift of the ribs, and hold it right there. Three breath cycles. Reach opposite arm and leg away from each other. Be aware of the inner thigh in the bottom leg, so it's still working for you. And set it down.

Other side for three breaths. Find that lift. Good. Tailbone's reaching one way, top of the head's reaching the other, too. The spine is long, beautiful.

One more breath, one more breath cycle there. And down, nice. Good, take a break there. We're gonna grab your towels, one for each hand. Come down onto your stomach.

You're gonna wanna get so your towels are on the wood part of the floor so they slide real easily. The hands are gonna be placed wider than your shoulders. Good. The head's gonna hover to start. Don't let your face touch the mat.

Keep your head hovered so your back has a little bit of activation to start. From here, elevate your shoulders, and slide the towels away from you. Now draw the shoulder blades toward your pelvis, and just lift up your head and upper back just a couple inches, not huge, not your biggest reach yet. Breathe while you're there, and then you're gonna set it back down. Try that again.

Reach out, slide the shoulders up to the sky or up to the ears, and then you're gonna slide them down, and then bring the upper back up. Good. Add a little more leg reach in the opposite direction. Nice job. Lower down, all the way down.

Slide the towels away from you. Elevate the shoulders, and then the shoulders slide down. Spread your hand out like they're growing roots into the ground, reach your legs across the room. There you go. And lower down.

Start the same way, it gets a little bigger, for three more. Reach up, slide them down, lift the spine. Your height, it doesn't have to be huge. The bottom rib has to stay on the mat, though, that's the one thing, you don't want to lift so high that it's just a lower back crunch, that you keep that in your upper back by keeping that bottom rib touching the mat. Nice.

Lower down. Open your legs wider than your shoulders if they're not already. Take a breath here. Elevate the shoulders, and reach out with the towels, slide them down, find that same lift that you just had, and you're gonna go up and stay there. Good.

Now, on the exhale, lift one leg up in the air. Lower that leg down. Other side. Don't lose the spine extension. Other side.

Bottom rib is on the mat, so you're not balancing on your hips, you're balancing on that bottom rib, so you really get the upper back to be part of this. Good afternoon, way to go. Nice, good. Now to build on this, you're gonna go opposite arm and leg. Reach the arm and leg so you find that lift.

Lower everything back down. Opposite arm and leg with that same height that you've been working on. Let the upper back and the arm lift so that it goes with you and then it comes back down. Good, couple more each side. Remember the palm is gonna face in, just like at the beginning of class.

That shoulder has some room with the palm facing in. Nice. All fours come off the ground one time, hover. Three breath cycles there. Long through the back of the neck, deep in the abs.

All the way down. Nice job, good. Grab your ball, come up to all fours. Back to the inner thighs. Do a nice counter stretch to all that spine work here for your cat stretch.

Same kind of placement, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. If this bugs your wrists, also, the towels come in handy because you could just use the towel underneath the wrist and the heel to hand to reduce that pressure, so if that bothers you, please feel free to do that. Here we go, neutral spine, take a breath in here. The pelvis is gonna lead and curl your spine up. When you curl, you can see the ball clearly.

Make sure you see yourself squeeze it. Breath in while you're there. The pelvis is first to uncurl, and lift with that helium ribcage just like at the beginning of class. Try that again. Pelvis leads, you curl, see the ball, see yourself squeeze the ball, aha, then tailbone leads back out to neutral.

Nice. Try it again. Round. Stay there for a moment. Just want to make sure that you're not using your shoulders as earrings, here.

Brilliant. When you uncurl, don't move the ribs until it's their turn. Move your tailbone, scrape the wall behind you, then your spine comes out, yes, a little helium in the ribs. Eyes on the ground here, we're not extending quite yet. Just neutral, good, again, curl the pelvis.

Brilliant. Squeeze the ball, deepen that head down all the way, here. Then tailbone first, scraping the wall behind you. Ahh, that was it, nice job. Keep the ribs lifted here, last time.

Curl the pelvis. Round it through. Stay here three breath cycles. See if you can get more exhale out while you stay there. Drain the exhale.

On your second one, drain it more. Get more depth in the abdominal connection. Ease in the neck, ease in the jaw. Last one, squeeze that ball. Nice job.

Tailbone starts to uncurl, lift to neutral. Brilliant, rest. Set your ball aside. We're gonna lie on your back. Let's go ahead on the outside.

If you wanna have some head support, you can. If you want to use the towels or if you want to use your pillow, you're allowed to do that if you feel like you want a little bit of lift. You're gonna lie in an X position so that your feet and your hands are both wider than your pelvis, wider than your shoulders. Say hi to your neighbor. Good.

So definitely more like an X. You're not a Y, you're not an A, a clear X, so wider. Yeah, marks the spot, there we go, cool. The first part on the exhale is gonna be that same connection you had in cat stretch where you narrow and connect through your torso once you have that, opposite arm and leg are gonna lift off the ground and come up toward the sky toward 90 degrees. Stay there once you get there, 90 degrees, right up to the sky if you can.

If it's not 90, don't worry about it, just get it off. Now, before you lower the arm and leg, start your exhale. Deepen that narrowing through the ribs and abdominals, then keep it as you lower the leg back to your x. If you feel like you can't touch the floor there because it pinches in the shoulder, you can keep it a little off the ground, too. It doesn't have to be on the ground.

Other side, narrow first. Then it causes the lift. Good. Let's just reach through the foot and kind of point the arch a little bit just to get that long extra length. Start the exhale deep in that rib connection.

Then go back to the ground. Think about a third of the breath coming out before you move an arm and leg. Here we go, exhale first. Then it lifts you up, brilliant. Good, breath in while you're there.

Start the exhale first. Yeah, it's a little counterintuitive to get that breath to move so much before you move a body part. Good, keep the legs wide, at least as wide as your mat. Nice job. Narrow, connect that with your breath, and lift.

Breathe in there, start the exhale to reconnect it, and back down. Last one like this, then we're gonna do a real challenge. Up, nice job, nice breath here. Exhale, narrow, and down. This is challenging, so if it's too much for you, please go back to the first version we just did.

All fours at the same time. While you're on your back there, you have to still start that exhale. Let me show you just one time. Exhale to narrow, and then that connection is what lifts all fours up. And then that's the connection that lowers them down.

Okay, here we go. Breathe in there, start the exhale first, narrow. Then lift, woo, hot dog. Everything together, close. Breathe in there, start your exhale.

Deep in, then open to an X. It just got real. Nice job. Try it again. Exhale.

(snaps fingers) Nice job. Good connection, all the way together. Breathe in there, narrow, and then open. Nice job. Rest, one more thing here.

Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the mat, gonna be about as wide as your hips, and then take your feet first as close as you can to your pelvis so you feel what that's like. Good. Now take them out about five inches from there, and that's where they're gonna live. Arms down by your side. Good.

For a shoulder bridge, we're gonna lift the pelvis up, and we're gonna roll it down. Inhale like that, and exhale, just lift like an elevator. The pelvis comes up. Nt curling, no rolling, good. Nice full breath in here.

Start the exhale first so the ribs narrow, then roll down, one piece then the next. By the time the pelvis lands, let your hips really disengage. There's no glutes there, and you're melted on the ground. Breathe in. Elevator lift, so your lower back and abdominals work together for that lift.

Good, nice breath in. Start the exhale before you move. Then roll it down. Nice. One more, start the same, we're gonna add on.

Lift up. Let us take five breaths to come down. Inhale there, start the exhale, come a fifth of the way. Inhale, your second fifth. Wide inhale, number three.

Glutes are starting to shut down, let them go. Number four. Last one here. Finish with an easy breath, the pelvis land. Good.

And you're all done. Nice job, guys, good. (applause)

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Susan B
2 people like this.
This looks perfect for what I need this morning. Thank you !!
Nice Feldenkrais intro
1 person likes this.
Nice job!!! 😍😍😍😍
1 person likes this.
Very nice ideas here- thank you !
3 people like this.
I love your articulate yet simple instructions! My body feels great after this, and my clients will really enjoy the ease these movements bring to the spine! Thank you!
2 people like this.
Wonderful movement, pace and cueing. My body feels great after this class. The X double arm/double leg lift is more challenging than one would think. Looking forward to sharing with my clients.
1 person likes this.
Love it
1 person likes this.
Trent, awesome work. Finished this short series and I feel my core connected! Ready to share and expand. Thank you
1 person likes this.
Tension calming and centering, thank you.
1 person likes this.
Love this, Trent! Thank you!! So glad to see you here!
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